Couffo Programme Unit
Area: 2,404 sq. km
Population: 524,586 inhabitants (2002)
Targeted communes: 6
Sponsored children: Around 21,000
Plan Benin has been working in Couffo, which is located in the south-west of Benin, since 1995, and in 2007 signed a 10 year partnership agreement with all 6 communes – 367 villages.
According to the Benin Education Fund, many of the country’s inhabitants rely on subsistence agriculture. The average annual income is estimated at just US$1,400 (World Bank 2008).
Child protection and participation
Plan Benin supported all 6 communes of Couffo in improving the birth registration system by providing necessary materials and training system workers. A birth certificate provides children with an official identity, giving them easier access to services such as health and education.
Children and adults in the communities are also trained on child protection to help prevent threats such as child trafficking and neglect through Plan Benin’s PROTECT project. Plan Benin helps children organise themselves into rights committees and helps them develop sustainable skills through training in areas such as baking, photography, mechanics and shoe-making. An ongoing media campaign is also raising community awareness on child rights.
Livelihood and household food security
Plan Benin helps women benefit from small savings and loans schemes. These enable families to invest in their future and protect themselves from economic shocks – such as losing a job or the death of a family member. We also train young people in entrepreneurial skills, income generating activities, literacy and fundamental French to give them more opportunities in adult life.
Plan Benin is working to help communities access quality health care and implements programmes on childhood illness, reproductive health and HIV and AIDS. Community teams attend malaria prevention training workshops to promote the use of impregnated mosquito nets. Plan also supports communities to identify, treat and refer diseases.
In addition to working with communities to construct schools and supply equipment, Plan Benin provides financial and technical support to local government and communities for teacher training and motivation, and has organised public awareness campaigns about the importance of education. Plan Benin has also helped 25 schools develop and implement their school improvement plan.
In August 2007, 4 communes in Couffo were hit with torrential rain which lasted for several days. In 2010, two communes in particular have been severely affected. Plan Benin provided assistance to the disaster victims by:
- distributing food, mosquito nets, mats and covers
- repairing damaged classrooms
- building new housing for the victims
- providing first aid drugs to the medical centres to be distributed to the disaster victims
- providing a psychological support to children affected by the disaster